Should we tow icebergs from Antarctica to combat drought?
Should we tow icebergs from Antarctica to combat drought?.
Drought has become an intractable problem in the United Arab Emirates, and the desert nation’s groundwater is expected to dry up in as little as 15 years.
Desalination currently supplies 98 percent of the drinking water for residents of UAE’s gluttonous cities, but desalination is expensive and ravaging to the local environment.
Meanwhile, Antarctica contains around 70 percent of the planet’s freshwater.
Towing icebergs from Antarctica might seem like an extreme idea– the idea has certainly garnered its fair share of ridicule– but an Abu Dhabi-based firm, the National Advisor Bureau Limited, is dead set on carrying it out, and they believe it can offer a real solution to their region’s water woes.
Al Shehi also believes that the out-of-place iceberg could become a significant tourist attraction, making the project more financially feasible.
That’s certainly a bit of salesmanship– an iceberg would have to be impractically huge to significantly alter the region’s rainfall– but the mammoth block of ice could absolutely generate clouds in its immediate vicinity, making it an even bigger spectacle for tourists.
The firm has released a somewhat amusing animation that visualizes the whole plan, even depicting wildlife still living on the towed iceberg.
(Specifically, it depicts penguins and polar bears– a bit of a faux pas given that polar bears only live in the Arctic.)
You can view it here: The video also misleadingly suggests that the plan will eventually transform the arid landscape of the UAE into a verdant, green paradise.